Last night my partner Ed and I attended a private reception for at Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) for Dr. Gunther von Hagens, the creator of the exhibit BODY WORLDS 3 (opening at the museum today). It was an incredible opportunity to get a sneak preview of the amazing exhbition that will be in Portland at OMSI until October. Nearly 20 million visitors in 35 cities across Asia, Europe, and North America have seen BODY WORLDS since its debut in Japan in 1996, and more than 6800 donors including 208 Americans have bequeathed their bodies to von Hagens' Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany.
My friend (and client when working on past Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks and Action Sports Media design projects) Sara Perrin is the Portland Marketing Manager for BODY WORLDS 3, so I had recently learned a lot about the exhibition from her. I'd also heard very positive comments from others who have viewed the displays in various U.S. cities. Still, I really didn't know how I would react to the graphic presentation of real human bodies - and organs, bones, nerve systems and more - preserved through Dr. von Hagen's process of "Plastination."
After schmoozing with guests (including Sara, her husband Rick, and long-time friends - and OMSI staffers - Brenda Jacobs and Andrea Middleton), having a couple glasses of wine, and noshing on a plate of great "poo poos," Ed and I were ready for our appointed time to start viewing the exhibit. I was immediately impressed by the artistic beauty of the displays. Juxtaposed against wall-mounted two-dimensional presentations of artistic and science anatomy images from throughout history, the three-dimensional sculptural beauty of the various human bodies presented was fascinating to me. Ed, being a self-confessed "science geek," was repeatedly saying "cool!" as he took it all in from his own geeky perspective.
It was great to hear the very postive comments of others as they toured the exhibit - especially from the kids present. As I was standing by an artistically dissected javlin thrower, I overheard two young boys discuss the piece as they viewed it with intensity.
"It would be really freaky if these were real human bodies," said the first boy.
"They are real human bodies," the second boy responded.
"Freaky!" was all the first boy said in reply, as the two continued to investigate all aspects of the human form before them.
One of the highlights of the evening for me was actually meeting Dr. von Hagens. I thanked him for bringing the exhibit to Portland and told him I thought it was incredibly beautiful. He was very gracious in expressing his appreciation of my comments and said he hoped many others felt the same way.
As our BODY WORLDS 3 visit came to an end, after about 90 minutes, I was feeling some regret that I couldn't view the entire thing again. I mentioned this to Ed and, in agreement, he told me that he'd already made plans to borrow our "rental children" (the kids of some friends) to bring them to OMSI to see the exhibit - which would allow us another look as well.
I highly recommend that everyone make plans to see this incredibly beautiful and educational exhibit. Tickets for the exhibition, predicted to be one of the most attended in Portland history, are available through the OMSI website.
Illustration: Front panel of OMSI invitation
© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives